Temporal Transcript Profiling Identifies a Role for Unfolded Protein Stress in Human Gut Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury

Anna M Kip, Joep Grootjans, Marco Manca, M'hamed Hadfoune, Bas Boonen, Joep P M Derikx, Erik A L Biessen, Steven W M Olde Damink, Cornelis H C Dejong, Wim A Buurman, Kaatje Lenaerts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND & AIMS: Intestinal ischemia-reperfusion injury is a serious and life-threatening condition. A better understanding of molecular mechanisms related to intestinal ischemia-reperfusion injury in human beings is imperative to find therapeutic targets and improve patient outcome.

METHODS: First, the in vivo dynamic modulation of mucosal gene expression of the ischemia-reperfusion-injured human small intestine was studied. Based on functional enrichment analysis of the changing transcriptome, one of the predominantly regulated pathways was selected for further investigation in an in vitro human intestinal organoid model.

RESULTS: Ischemia-reperfusion massively changed the transcriptional landscape of the human small intestine. Functional enrichment analysis based on gene ontology and pathways pointed to the response to unfolded protein as a predominantly regulated process. In addition, regulatory network analysis identified hypoxia-inducing factor 1A as one of the key mediators of ischemia-reperfusion-induced changes, including the unfolded protein response (UPR). Differential expression of genes involved in the UPR was confirmed using quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis. Electron microscopy showed signs of endoplasmic reticulum stress. Collectively, these findings point to a critical role for unfolded protein stress in intestinal ischemia-reperfusion injury in human beings. In a human intestinal organoid model exposed to hypoxia-reoxygenation, attenuation of UPR activation with integrated stress response inhibitor strongly reduced pro-apoptotic activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4)-CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein homologous protein (CHOP) signaling.

CONCLUSIONS: Transcriptome analysis showed a crucial role for unfolded protein stress in the response to ischemia-reperfusion in human small intestine. UPR inhibition during hypoxia-reoxygenation in an intestinal organoid model suggests that downstream protein kinase R-like ER kinase (PERK) signaling may be a promising target to reduce intestinal ischemia-reperfusion injury. Microarray data are available in GEO (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/gds, accession number GSE37013).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681-694
Number of pages14
JournalCellular and molecular gastroenterology and hepatology
Issue number3
Early online date11 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Transcriptomics
  • Intestinal Ischemia-Reperfusion
  • Unfolded Protein Response
  • Human Intestinal Organoids
  • ER


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